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GAM provoking anti-government sentiment but conditions favourable

Detik.com - March 7, 2006

Anton Aliabbas, Jakarta – There are indications that the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) leadership is actively carrying out anti-government propaganda. Nevertheless, in general the situation in Aceh is favorable.

“We must be objective in looking at the reforms and implementation of the peace deal. To date the atmosphere in Aceh has been favorable. There are many indications of this”, said the Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, Widodo AS, following a cabinet meeting at the presidential offices on Jl. Medan Merdeka Utara in Central Jakarta on Tuesday March 7.

Widodo explained that a specific resolution obviously requires a process so that there are likely to be dynamics. “All that remains is for us to manage this process so that it can create peace and the public can live normally. So leave it to us on how to monitor the process”, he said.

Earlier, Minister of Defense Juwono Sudarsono had said that former GAM members are becoming increasingly active in holding goodwill meetings that are filled with propaganda and the distortion of facts with the potential to create unrest.

Incident in East Aceh

Widodo also took the opportunity to explain about the incident that occurred in East Aceh.

“The police’s task was indeed conducting vehicle checks. But there was a motorbike driver that did not want to be stopped and was then prevented [from getting away] by a police officer and he then fell and it ended fatally. Perhaps the reaction by the public [in attacking a police station] occurred because they were demanding accountability for the incident”, he said.

Widodo is therefore asking for the attention of all members of the public in order to avoid incidents such as this as much as possible.

In relation to the cabinet meeting, Widodo said they discussed two major topics, political, legal and security issues as well as the economy. With regard to political, legal and security issues, there was discussion on Aceh, Central Sulawesi and Papua. On Papua in particular, the meeting addressed concerns over the demonstrations that have taken place at PT Freeport Indonesia.

“We are only conducting persuasive security measures to prevent the occurrence of anarchistic acts, and our obligation is to listen to input from the public and [determine] how to conduct community development so that it can bring benefits to the public”, he said. (san)

[Translated by James Balowski.]

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